The NBA was founded in the 1940s but it really only took off during the ‘50s. Today we have stars such as Steph Curry and Kevin Durant lighting up the NBA, but who were the players fans paid their money to see in the ‘50s? These are the top stars who played the game over 60 years ago.
During the ‘50s Bob Cousy was a leading figure for the Boston Celtics. He led them to two NBA championships in the decade and a further four in the ‘60s. Cousy was in the NBA All-star team every year from 1951 all the way through to 1963, and led his team to numerous victories at point guard.
He regularly averaged over 20 points per game, while bringing over 7 assists per game during his peak. Cousy made the Celtics the team they were and was undoubtedly one of the greatest players in the NBA of the 1950s.
Bill Sharman was a part of the same Celtics team as Cousy, and together they helped build a dynasty. Sharman also helped the team to their two NBA championships in the ‘50s and his ice-cold nerves meant he rarely ever missed a free throw. Six times he led the shot accuracy charts from the line in the 1950s, and the point guard was voted the All-Star MVP in 1955. Sharman proved he didn’t just pull strings when he was on the court and following his playing career he won the NBA championship with the Lakers.
Although Johnston’s career was cut short when he was in his prime, his prime years were some of the most impressive in the NBA at the time. He was only able to play for eight full seasons and he really left his mark, becoming a six-time All-Star player. As a player, he turned out for the Philadelphia Warriors and the Pittsburgh Rens.
The center was on his way to becoming a legend until he was forced to retire due to devastating a knee injury. He was the leading scorer in three of his eight seasons in the NBA, and if it wasn’t for his injury he might be one of the greatest ever to play ball.
Schayes dominated the NBA for the entire decade with the Syracuse Nationals. He was chosen to play in nine of the ten All-Star games of the ‘50s, and he helped the Nationals to the NBA Championship in 1955. The power forward wasn’t done dominating the league in the ‘50s, and his career continued to shine into the 1960s. His 6 ft 7 frame meant he was perfect for snatching rebounds and in the 1951 season he was the rebounding leader.
These players have had a huge impact on the NBA and helped build its popularity to what it is today. They were the reason why fans were cramming into arenas back then, and they led the way for the basketball stars of tomorrow with their dazzling on-court performances.